Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spotlight On...Alison Lea Bender

Name: Alison Lea Bender

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Education: Pinellas County Center for the Arts, Point Park University

Select Credits:
Alex Timbers and Kyle Jarrow's A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant (Angelic Girl), HAIR (Suzannah) at American Stage Theatre; Fame (Serena Katz) at The Laurie Beechman; Hearts & Voices: A Concert Fighting AIDS directed by Seth Rudetsky (Soloist)

Why theater?: This is going to sound absolutely awful. I was forced into musical theater summer camp when I was twelve. I came home from the first day with a lead role so I thought, "Hey, I guess I can do this." At that age, I liked to sing and really liked applause and when people told me how talented I was. So shallow. As time went on and I started going to performing arts high school and doing more shows, I learned to love my art and developed the passion. Now I am so grateful that I get to be a part of this amazing community. Every day I wake up and think about performing, and then I go to sleep thinking about performing. It's just such a gift to connect with so many others.

Tell us about Zombie Wedding: It's a super fun, romantic musical comedy with a zombie twist to it! It's the story of a young woman named Cat (portrayed by yours truly) and her "dream wedding" and the events that occur within those days leading up to it. Cat plans to marry her jerky, self-indulgent fiance', Keith (portrayed by Wes Hart). Along the way, her best friend, Neil (portrayed by Ryan Nearhoff), returns back from a pharmaceutical research trip with some news. Also, along the way, zombies play with the plot. If you want to find out what happens... DUN DUN DUN... you must come see the show yourself!

What is it like to be a part of Zombie Wedding?: It's totally awesome! Working with a cast and production team of this caliber is exquisite. I can't tell you how great it is to be in a room with all the young talent plus experienced professionals. This is also my Fringe debut so this experience has been very special to me. Thank you Randy and R.C.!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I definitely think music makes everything better! That's right... you guessed it! Musical Theatre is my favorite form of theatre, but really, anything original. Originality and honesty is very rare to find these days. I admire new and daring pieces. I also have to say, I just admire any show that brings people into theatre and the arts in general. (cough...cough... Commerical Broadway shows) So what inspires me? My friends and family who constantly remind me how lucky I am to have my gift. They shower with me with so much honesty, love, and support. Who would ever want to quit with all that backing you up?

What’s it like to be a part of FringeNYC?: Well my opening performance is TOMORROW! I cannot wait to take that stage! Rehearsals have been great. Always special to be a part of something in development still during the rehearsal process. We made some big changes to the show since day one and I think we are finally ready to do this for a crowd!

Any role you’re dying to play?: The stereotypical me says Elphaba in Wicked, and the Diva in me says Lady of the Lake in Spamalot.

If you could steal anyone’s career, who’s would it be?: Growing up, it was always Eden Espinosa and Lea Salonga. Nowadays, I like to believe I will make a great career of my own.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Normal Heart which closed recently. It absolutely blew my mind. One of the most incredible theatre experiences I've ever had. Also, The Book of Mormon if you can get yourself a ticket.

What’s up next?: Some lovely regional theatre and climbing some more steps up that ladder!

To learn more about Zombie Wedding, visit